Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Richard G. Rogers

Second Advisor

Jason Boardman

Third Advisor

Stefanie Mollborn


This dissertation investigates disparities in access and utilization of health care, substance abuse and dependence, and mental health by sexual orientation during the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. In addition to using nationally representative longitudinal data, I employ a series of innovative statistical techniques including generalized linear models, propensity score matching, and multi-level models to examine the relationship between multiple indicators of sexual orientation, health behaviors, and health outcomes. In sum, this research highlights the importance of victimization, the social environment, and the process of identity change as key factors in the creation of health disparities by sexual orientation. Additionally, this work highlights the need for more health prevention efforts to target both-sex oriented persons and female sexual minority populations. The findings presented in this dissertation underscore the significance of sexual orientation as an understudied sociodemographic characteristic with important implications for understanding health disparities in the United States.

Included in

Sociology Commons